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Glossary

Accountability

A council is accountable when it is able to explain and justify its decisions.

Administration

The paid staff of the council including the general manager.

Annual plan

Annual plans explain the activities that a council will undertake in order to achieve the objectives set out in its strategic plan. A council is to prepare an annual plan for the municipal area for each financial year.

Code of Conduct

Each council is required to adopt a code of conduct. The code of conduct defines the way that elected members are expected to behave in relation to all aspects of their role.

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest arises from a conflict between the performance of a public duty and a private or personal interest.

Council

A group of people elected to govern the affairs of a municipal area.

Councillor

An individual who is elected to council.

Council Committee

A committee established by a council to assist in carrying out statutory functions.

Council meeting

The elected members (councillors) meeting formally as council.

Council officers

A paid member of staff (see administration above).

Elected members

See councillors above.

Director of Local Government

The Director of Local Government is responsible for the administration of the Local Government Act 1993.

Equitable decision making

Fair and impartial decision making.

Estimates

The general manager must prepare estimates of the council's revenue and expenditure for each financial year. Estimates are to contain details of the following:

  • the estimated revenue of the council;
  • the estimated expenditure of the council;
  • the estimated borrowings by the council;
  • the estimated capital works of the council; and
  • any other detail required by the Minister responsible for local government.

Estimates for a financial year must be adopted by the council before 31 August in that financial year.

Ethics

Standards of right and wrong that prescribe what people ought to do. (notefoot here)

General Manager

The general manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the council administration.

The general manager is appointed by, and accountable to, the elected members.

Good governance

Good governance in local government is when elected members:

  • act with the highest ethical standards;
  • understand their role and the role of others;
  • foster positive relationships;
  • show a commitment to risk management;
  • engage in effective strategic planning;
  • follow a transparent and accountable decision making process;
  • understand and abide by the law; and
  • have good judgement.

These behaviours result in organisations that act in the best interest of the community and are accountable, transparent, law-abiding, responsive, equitable, inclusive, effective, efficient, participatory and consensus oriented.

Governance

Governance is the processes and culture that guide the activities of an organisation beyond its basic legal obligations.

Integrity

To be consistently transparent, accountable, reliable, trustworthy and honest.

Local government

‘A local government’ is a corporate entity for each municipal area, which is made up of elected members (councillors) and the administration (council officers).

‘Local government’, is a collective reference to the sector comprising all the local governments.

Local Government Act 1993

This is the State Government Act under which local government operates.

Long-term financial management plans

Long-term financial management plans outline how a council will fund the projects that are identified in its strategic plan.  Long-term financial management plans must cover at least a 10-year period.

Long-term asset management plans

Long-term asset management plans describe the process of planning, purchase, operation, maintenance and disposal of assets. They take into account desired service outcomes, the durability of assets, and the available financial resources, and enable councils to meet their service delivery objectives efficiently and effectively.

Minister

The Minister responsible for local government plays an important role at a strategic level, and is responsible for ensuring that councils are meeting their obligations under the Local Government Act 1993.

Municipal area

The geographic area of a local government area.

Planning authority

A council is a planning authority when it is undertaking its responsibilities in relation to the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993.

Risk

The effect of uncertainty on council objectives.

Risk management

Coordinated activities to direct and control a council with regards to risk.

Special committee

A special committee of the council as defined in section 24 of the Local Government Act 1993. Councils may delegate some decision making powers to these committees, which can include just councillors or any combination of councillors, council officers and other people.

Statutory planning

Statutory planning involves administering the planning scheme and assessing permit applications.